Most of the equipment required for making smoothies, juices, and shakes will already exist in any reasonably well-equipped kitchen. No specialist expensive tools are required, although you might like to choose some that speed things up or make life a little easier. Remember that you will need to have adequate storage space for any extra equipment when it is not in use.
This is the most expensive piece of equipment you will require for making smoothies, juices, and milkshakes and is a worthwhile investment in any kitchen. A detachable goblet fits on to a base that houses the motor. Small blades in the goblet whirl around chopping finely or reducing ingredients to a purée. There is usually a feeder tube or removable cover that allows you to add ingredients, usually a liquid, while the motor is running. Most blenders have at least 2 speeds and all modern domestic models have safety features. Food processors or liquidizers can be also be used.
Although the recipes featured in this book do not require an electric juicer, the investment in one could be very worthwhile. These machines offer you a fast and efficient way to produce good quantities of juice with the minimum of effort. Simply chop the fruit or vegetables into small enough pieces to fit in the juicer, turn it on and watch as the juicer automatically separates the juice from the pulp and skin leaving you with a clean and tasty glass of juice. On some models you don’t even have to peel or core the fruit!
Always keep a separate board for preparing fruit and vegetables and never use it for poultry, meat, or fish. Wooden boards look attractive and do the least damage to knife blades. They cannot be sterilized but this is not an important consideration for one kept exclusively for fruit and vegetables. Polyethylene boards, which come in a range of colors, can be sterilized and are dishwasher-proof. They have rough surfaces to prevent both food and board from slipping.
A classic dome-shaped lemon squeezer is easiest to use and inexpensive. A cone-shaped press is very efficient.
Short and long corers are available. You simply push the circular cutting edge through the center of the fruit or vegetable and withdraw the core in the cylinder. As fruit and vegetables are usually sliced or chopped for drinks, you can remove the cores of such fruit as apples with a paring knife at the same time.
A standard box grater is suitable for all kinds of grating and slicing, including grating citrus rind, the most likely use when preparing drinks. A special citrus grater, made from acid-resistant stainless steel, is also available.
A range of cook’s knives is essential for any type of food preparation, including making drinks. It is better to buy them separately than as a set, testing the balance of each by holding it in your hand. Heavy, but well-balanced knives are more efficient and easier to use than light ones. A cook’s knife, with a wide, curved blade 20–25 cm/8–10 inches long, is an all-purpose tool and can be used for hefty tasks, such as slicing fruit and vegetables, as well as light ones, such as chopping herbs. A utility knife is a slightly smaller version with a 13–18-cm/5–7-inch-long blade and is useful for light slicing and chopping. A paring knife, with a similar shaped blade 8–10 cm/3¼–4 inches long, is ideal for peeling and scraping fruit and vegetables, and for slicing and chopping small items. It is very useful for preparing ingredients, such as oranges, peaches, and root ginger, for smoothies.
Store knives in a knife block rather than a drawer where they will be a danger to fingers and liable to damage. A steel or knife sharpener helps keep them in good condition.
Sieves and strainers
A range of different sizes is useful in any kitchen. Use a nylon sieve for acidic fruits as metal may taint the flavor.
There are three basic types – swivel, V-shaped, and Y-shaped – all of which make it easier than using a knife to peel fruit and vegetables thinly. Which type you choose is a matter of taste, but left-handed people should check that the sharp edge works for them or buy a special left-handed version.